The first time you get

the wind knocked out of you,

you will be astonished

by what seems a fatal wallop—

one moment running,

the next, bulge-eyed and gaping

like a carp tossed in a rowboat.

No one prepares us.

We face this first shock

as innocents, unwarned

of the breathtaking thwack,

unassured of its passing.

Having lost what was thought

a basic given, it’s only natural

to reconsider the dependable,

and adopt, perhaps,

a more cautious posture,

for who could frolic

in their stocking feet or leap

with quite the same abandon,

once they know

how slick the footing,

how sudden and cruel the blow?


Angie Hexum is a speech-language pathologist by trade. A Nebraska native, she moved to the San Francisco Bay Area after graduating from Swarthmore College. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Caesura and Gyroscope Review. She currently resides in Campbell, CA where she enjoys hiking, cycling, and singing in a chorus.


Angie Hexum

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